Adventures in wire continue

Published by Lori Pickert on November 7, 2007 at 07:07 AM


We are still working with wire.

The above photo is the wire heart Jack made me that spells out "m-o-m". He's also been making toys — and selling them! (Pause while he makes a paper box to hold his money. Pause again while he makes so much money the paper box won't hold up and he needs to construct a heavier one. Pause while his older brother explains business loans and offers to loan him money to buy more supplies so his business can grow. Pause while he scoffs at that idea and points out that mom already bought his materials. Pause while he makes himself a nametag that reads "Certified Product Salesman".)

The wire came out originally to make an armature for a bird sculpture. Then it became the mostly two-dimensional bird sculpture. Then more wire sculptures, toys, tools, two-dimensional pictures...

I know I'm beating a dead horse, but those wacky kids and their short attention spans.

When I'm sure he's done everything he wants to do with the wire he has and the ideas he has — good and completely done — then I want to show him this:






And this:



Another great Calder link: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

My fan mail is enormous. Everyone is under six.
Alexander Calder


A fantastic collection of Calder links

National Gallery of Art: Virtual Calder Tour

One last note on working with wire: It can be pokey and it is important to supervise its use and make sure the kids understand and respect the material. I am usually overboard on safety issues, but I don't make the boys wear safety glasses while they work with it or anything. I don't restrict them to short pieces (to lessen their chances of poking an eye, either their own or each other's). These things can happen, however, so be aware and beware. (I think I just invented a catch-phrase!)

And another note: If you know someone who works for the telephone company, they can get you the most fabulous multicolored, plastic-coated wire. If you are a teacher, you can ask very nicely for your class. They always said yes to me, but then I can really turn on the charm.

No, 'pokey' is not a real word. But you knew exactly what I meant, didn't you?


Comment by Nanette on November 7, 2007 at 08:12 AM

Hi, thanks for the comment - I love this blog, some really fabulous ideas. I love kids wire sculpture (I teach art to kiddies), they really get a kick out of seeing Calder's circus.

Comment by karin on November 7, 2007 at 09:27 AM

I love Alexander Calder. There is a beautiful book about him:"Alexander Calder intime"

Comment by Stefani on November 7, 2007 at 02:20 PM

I love that you can show the restraint to not show him all that cool stuff right away. I always get excited and jump the gun.

I just made myself a tag that says, "Certified Pokey Pain in The Butt Before Caffeine" :-)

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 7, 2007 at 03:00 PM

i will look for that book at the library! thank you, karin. :^)

i love calder, too. his work is so appealing and familiar to children; they really "get" him.

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 7, 2007 at 03:02 PM

hi nanette & thank you! yes, the circus is great. :^)

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 7, 2007 at 03:07 PM

stef, that restraint comes with a lot of hard-won experience. it's important to do it wrong at first, so you really understand how to do it right! ;^)

it's funny how grown-ups like to keep things moving along. let's go, kids! come on! keep up! we think you have to cover a lot of ground to make progress, when really kids learn so much more by staying in one place for awhile.

Comment by molly on November 7, 2007 at 03:34 PM

I love all the wire. My kids like me to make their names in cursive out of wire. Crocheting with wire is very cool too. I have been known to scrounge for wire along the railroad tracks - I don't know how it ends up there, but I'm glad it does. I'm off to make friends with a telephone guy.

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 7, 2007 at 04:44 PM

molly, i love the mental picture of you scrounging for wire along the rr tracks. now *that's* dedication. ;^)

i love telephone wire -- it's my favorite! i used to make jewelry with it when i was a kid.

Comment by Molly on November 7, 2007 at 06:24 PM

I too love Calder. We take our kids to the East Gallery (the modern wing) a lot at the National Gallery and head straight for the Calders. My kids like them too, but don't have the sense of awe of the sheer scale of the mobiles. They just think it's something they could do at home if they wanted. Know what? I believe they're right.

Maybe you have a feild trip in mind to the NGA, if so, we can get that coffee.

Your wire heart is priceless!

- Molly

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 7, 2007 at 06:50 PM

i will definitely call you when i'm in town! :^)

and i agree with you, i think one of the reasons kids are drawn to calder's work is *because* it is accessible -- it's another reason it makes his work a great inspiration to show them. they get their own ideas, and they're not intimidated to try it out for themselves.

and thank you re: my wire heart. he's such a sweetheart. :o)

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